Introduction: LED Cycle Helmet

About: I am an engineer, which has pretty much nothing to do with my love of making and fixing things!!

I happened to be round at a friend's house, and spotted these offcuts from some LED tape in his bin, so I immediately though I would put them to some use.

Keeping cyclists safe is to keep them seen, and lighting them up is one way of achieving this - however I am also aware that it is should NOT be the intention to blind other road users (which can have the detrimental impact of vehicle drivers losing the ability to gauge distance, as well as winding them up).

So, a general low level smearing of light over clothing / helmet was my thought, and so this instructable began....

Step 1: Materials

  • Approx 1m of waterproof 3 colour LED tape
  • A cycle helmet
  • Some low voltage wire (recovered out of an old hifi)
  • A sacrificial USB cable
  • A glue gun

The tape was measured out and cut to lengths that fitted around the front and separately around the the rear of the helmet. It's a bit complicated to joint the +5v points together on all the strips, but it can all be done from the left hand side of the helmet.

The LEDs work by grounding the particular colours needed. This means that for red (for the rear facing lights) it is just little copper tab that gets connected, but for the white at the front, all 3 tabs need joining (blue + red + green = white).

Step 2: Riding

I just have 90cm of USB cable and a male USB plug hanging from the helmet, which is long enough to reach to a USB battery pack in your pocket. In hindsight I would (& may well) fit a USB female socket on the helmet so that it doesn't trail the lead when not needed.

I think it looks great from the rear, but from the front it's a bit too TRON - i.e. massive, and a different arrangement (maybe chevrons?) would look more aesthetic.

From the wearer's perspective, it feels like you're riding in a pool of light, but it doesn't ruin your night vision.